Today, I’m pleased to announce the launch of our 2010 annual fundraising drive, which we are referring to as a “contribution campaign”. This year marks a major milestone for Wikipedia.  Ten years of revolutionizing access to knowledge.  Ten years of our joint commitment to deliver the sum of human knowledge to every human being on the planet.  For free.

Wikipedia and its sister sites champion a mission of effectively disseminating knowledge, free for use, free of copyright, and free of external advertising. Since its founding in 2001, the site has grown to 17 million articles in over 270 languages, and for many of those languages, Wikipedia is the only encyclopedia ever written. Wikipedia, and all the Wikimedia projects, are always there when we need them; for students, educators, professionals and curious minds worldwide, these projects are simply the most convenient and readily accessible sources of information.

This year’s fundraising goal is an ambitious one – $16 million over two months. Wikimedia sites are the 5th most visited web properties worldwide (visited by about 400 million people each month), and Wikimedia is the only non-profit organization in the top 10. Since 2007 our readership has doubled, with this past September seeing our highest traffic yet.  With this incredible feat comes an enormous duty: to maintain the infrastructure necessary to keep these sites free, stable, and running smoothly, while also continually improving the systems and architecture behind them.

For more information about where your donations go, see this year’s annual plan.

Since the beginning, our fundraising model has been based on the support of our community of readers and editors – we have received more than 500,000 donations in the lifetime of the Foundation, averaging about $33 each.  Will you join us today by making a donation to financially underwrite Wikipedia and its sister sites?

We have worked with almost a thousand community volunteers to develop this year’s fundraiser as a community driven contribution campaign. These exceptional volunteers have helped to develop messaging, design banners, write appeals, and conduct tests of our ideas.

Since August we have been testing these messages and tweaking our campaign to reflect the data and feedback from our community. Due to the introduction of new technology, we now have the ability to target particular banners and donation pages based upon geographic location, and to optimize the pages donors see.

In addition to new technology, we’re introducing a new perspective;  this year’s contribution campaign is designed to invite not only financial contributions, but to also encourage people to contribute their expertise and knowledge to the projects. We want readers to make their first edit, upload their first photograph to Wikimedia Commons, write their first article, and through this, to become more deeply affiliated with the projects.

For updates throughout the fundraiser continue to check our blog, and follow us on identi.ca and Twitter (as @Wikipedia, or the community-run contribution handle @WikiContribute).  After you’ve made a contribution, please tell the world using the hashtag #keepitfree!

This year marks a significant milestone for us, so I hope you will join me – and the diverse community of volunteers that make up the Wikimedia projects – in celebrating and supporting the mission that has brought us all together.

Stay curious!

Philippe Beaudette,
Community Department